Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

electrical wires

johnnyge Member Posts: 86
I have a question about aluminum wire. There is a house in the market that I like but when i got information from my realtor about it , I notice that in the electrical part states "Aluminum wires but no problems" I know that some insurance do not insure house with aluminun wires. Now my questions are What will be a safe solution to have the house up to code in electrical? or how expensive will be to rewire the entire house with cooper?. or should I stay away from this type of houses?. The house was built on 1968 and it is a 4 bedroom bilevel.any imput is greatly appreciated


  • jp_2
    jp_2 Member Posts: 1,935
    my guess

    the house has really sub standard insulation by todays standards. ranches are easier to rewire than 2 story houses.

  • bruce_21
    bruce_21 Member Posts: 241

    Aluminum wire in 14, 12 or 10 AWG (american wire guage) smaller number= thicker wire is bad news. Aluminum expands and contracts much more than copper when it is heated-like when you plug in a small heater or appliance. This expansion/ contraction leads to the loosening of the connection at the screws of the devices which leads to arcing and more heating and bigger gaps and more arcing and ultimately fire at the device. Many people died in fires attributed to AL wire in the 50's and small guages were outlawed. Wire in larger sizes like 6, 4, 2, 1, 0, 0000, can be torqued down enough to prevent this problem. The connection terminations should be checked by a licensed electrician and repaired if necessary. Small guage AL wire should definitely be removed and replaced with copper. Not so easy without access below or above, but really needs to be done.
  • johnnyge
    johnnyge Member Posts: 86

    So, I need to find out what gauge wire is there (the lower number the better)someone mention pigtailing. I dont know exactly what it is ,and that will be code legal or just another way to suggest that its ok to get in a house that may caught on fire becuase of the electrical issue
  • seabee570
    seabee570 Member Posts: 89
    aluminum wire

    the info is correct on smaller diameter wire.most larger service entrance cable or subfeed panel wire,larger sizes,(lower wire gauge number)could be ok.smaller sizes,14,12,possibly no.10 would need to be replaced.If splicing or connecting copper to aluminum you must use special connectors rated for this,and also use a special compound to apply and use at connection points(no-alox)It seems as though it is all thru the house,I would stay away unless there were provisions to compensate for a house rewire.any devices or connectors used with aluminum must be specifically rated for aluminum.
  • john g_5
    john g_5 Member Posts: 5

    I think rewiring a house would cost somewhere between 10-18k depending on the size of the house and mood the electrician is in.
  • mtfallsmikey
    mtfallsmikey Member Posts: 765
    An alternative to gutting

    If the AL wire on the general recp./lighting runs is ok, with no signs of melting, then making new connections inside of all junction/recp./switch boxes using the newer wire nuts w/conductive grease installed can be an alternative, which I have done in several houses. A lot of older houses (60's-70's era)were wired using the stab-type terminals on the back of receptacles (backwiring)instead of pigtails. If you go this route, make sure to purchase switches/recptacles that are CO/ALR rated. and more than likely you may have eiether a Wadsworth/Federal panel box..not good!
  • Larry C_13
    Larry C_13 Member Posts: 94
    Ask profesional ELECTRICIANS


    With no disrespect to any posters on this excellent website, why are you asking heating profesionals about an electrical issues?

    I would suggest going to an ELECTRICIAN website. I would suggest the following site is electrical-contractor.net

    DISCLAIMER: I am not an electrician nor do I have any affiliation with the suggested website. I am a home owner who is interested in heating systems, among many other things.

    Larry C
  • johnnyge
    johnnyge Member Posts: 86

    Thank you for all the replays . This gave me a better idea of what i am dealing with on this house. I will get an electrician check the house before I will closed on this deal. I know this is a heating help site, but I have been reading all the postings on this site for a couple of years and I trust the knowledge of the "old "timers on this site. For this reason my house still got steam heat and its working 100% thanks to everything that I learned on this site. I just have my house audit by a tech and finally I can say the envelope is close.
  • JJ_4
    JJ_4 Member Posts: 146
    Information websites

    Here are a couple of websites (I'm sure there are many more..these were pretty straightforward)that may help...they explain "pigtailing":



    P.S. Not an electrician either...just like to search the web!
  • also, beware of

    Beware of Federal Pacific Electric panel box. There was major problems with them and recall...
  • Timco
    Timco Member Posts: 3,040

    I was a service electrician for just over 10 years. Electricity flows around the outer surface of a wire, not the core, a skin effect. If a standard stripper is used (they make them rated for AL wire) it nicks the AL wire and this causes a spot where the electricity finds resistance, thus heat. Same thing happens where a dishwasher is tied to the wiring with a standard wirenut. It scars the wire and the flow of electricity sees turbulence where it hits the scar. I have never seen a wire come lose but have seen them melt the plastic off a regular nut. By pig-tailing all the connections in each box to copper before terminating it at the devise with a purple nut (contains no sharp edges and has Nolox or another corrosion inhibitor in it ) you will be just fine. It is not the run of wire that is the problem...it is all in the termination which can be done safely and permanently with no lingering issues. By pig-tailing to copper, you can use any switch or light that is rated CU only.

    Just a guy running some pipes.
This discussion has been closed.